In the Dog Rescue World, very few people know that I am in Real Estate...it's just not important...only the dogs are. Recycled dogs make the best pets...they understand a hard life from a kind hand and will work daily to make you feel special. Here is one story...
I have been a dog foster mom for many years, taking in "special needs" dogs for rescue groups. I take in the dogs that other volunteers won't foster or can not handle; the dogs who have unresolved medical issues and the dogs that have behavior problems. I am a sucker for the "underdog".
With a never ending waiting list of dogs from all over the state, my job was to fix them and make them adoptable as quickly as possible. Sometimes it was a revolving door. I always screened and interviewed the potential adopters and never had a problem finding a home quickly or letting the dogs go...while I loved them all, I stayed detached emotionally...until Cala.
Cala was brought to me through Laborador Retreiver Rescue by a Good Samaritan from Ocala, Florida (hence the name "Cala") She was found on the side of the highway at the Ocala National Forest next to a deer carcass, dumped by someone with no heart. The only reason that the Good Samaritans turned their car around and stopped was because they started arguing about whether the dog was really dead or not.
Cala was only about a year old but sick and depressed, she acted like an old dog...totally disinterested in life, people, toys or even a liver treat. It was weeks before I saw her tail wag. After a couple of months of rehab, the gleam came back in her eyes and she blossomed into the happiest dog I ever had. Her manners were good and her disposition was always sunny. Time to post her picture on Petfinder and get her out the door. I got several calls quickly and started sorting for the best fit, usually the first visitor adopts the dog.
- The first family was perfect and already had a playmate for Cala. The potential adopter came over and barely said two words when Cala started barking at them and backed off...she made it clear that she did not like them.
- Ok, next. The second adopter adopted her, but returned her the next day...adopter said there was nothing wrong with the dog and refused a refund...but, I never got the full story.
- Then came a third possible...seasoned dog people...Cala behaved so badly that I was embarrassed...not at all how I had described her..she made me look like a liar! She growled and hid behind me and peeked out only to see if they were still there.
The minute they left, Cala grabbed her toys and was again the happy perfect child...er, I mean happy perfect dog.
What was Cala doing? Sabotaging her own adoption? Yes, she was. She made it very clear she wanted to stay...and for the first time in years, I wanted the foster dog to stay...it was a feeling I never had. She had sucked me in and I wanted to keep her. But keeping her meant that I no longer had room to take in more dogs...I already had my own dogs...I am supposed to "fix" dogs, not keep them.
While I debated, Cala played me hard. She let me know how much she loved and adored me every minute of the day...and she even started climbing up on Mike licking him and trying to fit her big body in his lap.
The choice was difficult, but we decided that we needed to help to give more dogs a second chance.
So, I took Cala out of her comfort zone to adoptions at Pet Smart and left her with the other volunteers...I needed to remove myself from her in order to give her a chance at a successful adoption. That day, a nice lady took an interest and the next day when the lady's husband came to visit, Cala went absolutely "nuts" over him...she loved him first and the wife next, so they adopted her. Funny, how dogs just know...
UPDATE: Cala moved in with an active retired couple, she passed her obedience test and got the Canine Good Citizens Award from the American Kennel Club. Cala now gets to go boating, fishing, traveling and most of all she gets all the love she deserves... I wonder if she knows how close I came to keeping her?
For those that are looking to adopt a new best friend go to Petfinder Every Rescue Group is listed and there are rescue groups for every breed. You can also go to Orange County SPCA, Orange County Animal Control, or Seminole County Animal Control...and don't worry... if it is not a good fit almost everyone will either trade your adopted dog for another one or give you a refund. Keep in mind that new homes are very stressful to pets, and it takes time to make their personality shine.
Have questions? I will be happy to help you, just ask.
CALA TODAY WITH HER NEW DAD...the family that she picked...